5 Best Artillery Nations in EU4 (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
EU4 has a complex battle system. One that makes heavy use of artillery in the later stages of the game.
But there are only a handful of nations with buffs aimed specifically at their artillery units. As your main source of damage in the late game, artillery is very important.
All nations, regardless of their technology groups, share the very same artillery units throughout the various technology levels. This doesn’t mean that all nations utilize it equally, though.
Artillery is impacted by discipline and morale modifiers, which apply to your entire army. Generals’ skills also affect it, and so do shock and land fire damage modifiers. Fire damage bonuses can help your artillery a lot.
But let’s see the few nations that come with great artillery buffs in their national ideas.
The Bengal Sultanate national idea set comes with some powerful bonuses overall.
Handy buffs to your military in general, paired with development cost reduction and extra goods produced, all means that it’s one of the best national ideas one can ask for.
Amidst these buffs lies one of the most unique modifiers in the game.
You’re rewarded with it only after you unlock all Bengali national ideas, which means it’ll come online after your completing your third idea group.
This modifier is a +15% artillery damage from back row.
Unless you’re attempting some weird challenge run, your artillery will be doing its job from the back row. In fact, after recent changes, it’s automatically put there even during weird reinforcement sequences.
This means you need to be actively trying to end up with artillery on the front row!
So the bonus will always be applicable to your artillery.
The rich lands of Bengal can fund your artillery units from very early on.
If you find yourself playing as the Bengal Sultanate, I recommend the Economic-Offensive-Quality idea groups for starters. Upon reaching MIL tech 13 (when artillery starts being useful) you will start steamrolling the opposition.
Russia is a powerhouse of a nation militarily.
While its main power lies in the vast armies they can field, the bonuses to artillery that the nation enjoys cannot be underestimated.
Russia’s economy, especially for the first half of the game, is not a strong one. It’s especially hard to maintain the large armies you are supposed to with the early Russian economy. Until you firmly secure Siberia and get a stranglehold on the Baltic, your trade income will be negligible.
This is where Russia’s -10% artillery cost comes into play. Pair it up with Quantity or Economic ideas (or both) for maximum effect.
This allows you to field your beefed-up artillery which will be your main asset in battles. Along with endless hordes of infantry, of course.
The same idea that gives Russia its cheaper artillery also buffs it with artillery combat ability +10%. Nothing too fancy for certain, but as said earlier, artillery bonuses are few and far between.
Russia also receives a reduction of fire damage received. While this doesn’t translate directly to a better artillery on your side, it means that your infantry will hold the line longer. This allows your artillery to dish out more damage, as it fights for a longer period.
Portugal enjoys a unique bonus in its national ideas, one that it shares with its Iberian siblings.
This is +1 artillery fire.
Now this might not seem like a lot, but trust me, it is.
For an easy comparison, +10% artillery combat ability is worse than this modifier for the entirety of the game. At the very late game (MIL tech 29) they are similar in terms of value, with +1 artillery fire being a little bit stronger still.
In the early game the difference is even more pronounced.
Think of it this way: when everybody has artillery with 1 offensive and defensive fire pip, your artillery has 2. When theirs have 2, yours has 3 and so it goes.
Now, this bonus is strategically placed in national idea sets in a way that it doesn’t get unlocked until the early 16th century. This means you cannot abuse it immediately at MIL tech 7 during the late 15th century.
Despite that, the bonus remains a very powerful one – comparable to +20% artillery combat ability for most of the campaign!
Spain enjoys the same unique bonus as Portugal, artillery fire +1.
I won’t go again into details about how strong the modifier is, as it was discussed in Portugal’s entry.
Spain has an edge over Portugal though, because its national ideas overall are a tad bit better suited to abuse this artillery buff.
With a buff to discipline and morale of armies, Spain’s army fights better overall. The extra morale means that your infantry will hold the line for a longer time, giving your artillery the chance to participate in a couple extra fire phases.
The riches of the Iberian Peninsula and your colonial empire will easily provide the funds to maintain a couple of artillery stacks.
Remember, you only need as many as needed to fill your backrow!
Spain has a slight edge over Portugal regarding artillery’s performance due to how all these different modifiers impact its overall performance.
It’s worth noting that Aragon also has access to this unique +1 artillery fire. You can of course form Spain at some point as either Portugal or Aragon, enjoying the slightly better military bonuses.
Smolensk tops the list regarding artillery.
How could it not? Its national flag is a cannon!
As an obscure releasable nation, Smolensk is a nation that you might not be familiar with. It’s not like you see it appear on the map in many campaigns.
If you want to play as Smolensk in 1444 you must start as Lithuania and choose to “release and play as” Smolensk from the diplomacy tab.
Smolensk’s whole idea set is centered around its artillery.
Half the ideas in its national idea set revolve around your cannons.
The biggest buff comes in the shape of a -20% artillery cost. This is massive and allows you to field a full artillery backrow far more easily, as the area you find yourself in isn’t the richest one.
This is complimented by a +10% artillery combat ability, a +10% bonus land fire damage, and a +1 increase to your generals’ fire skill.
All these bonuses stack amazingly well with offensive ideas and the economic-offensive policy, as well as the quality idea group.
The +10% siege ability is icing on the cake.
Combined with the vast numbers of artillery you will be fielding, it can significantly speed up sieges.
To sum up: Smolensk is essentially a better Russia when it comes to artillery. The Russian idea set overall might be stronger, but if you want to meme around with full artillery stacks, Smolensk is the nation for you.